What Is Bot Traffic And How To Detect It

What Is Bot Traffic And How To Detect It

by Alan Jackson — 12 months ago in Business Ideas 5 min. read

If you’re conversant with the online publishing space, you’d have encountered the phrase–” bot traffic.” New to the space and you’re asking–what the heck is that? Chill, and don’t get your knickers in a twist.

The truth is every website or blog in the online space, irrespective of size, niche, or duration it’s been in existence, gets visited by several bots. It now depends on if they are good or bad bots.

Often described as a series of non-human traffic a website gets, large chunks of bots fly around the online space. The figure is alarming and started to be a thing of concern for online publishers.

A recent study confirmed that the bot traffic figure increases by 5.2% yearly and has risen to 47.4%. Here is what this means–right now, almost half of the visits to websites and blogs in the online space are done by bots.

In light of this latest development, it’s high time online publishers and enthusiasts know what bots are, their methods of operation, their impacts, and how to detect them. You’d need to read to the end. Let’s go.

Bot Traffic–Good or Bad?

Let’s start on this note–not all bots are harmful. Some are actually useful. Surprised to see that? Well, that’s the disposition of most people when they are told.

There are good bots and bad bots. Good bots are used to perform some specific web service operations.

In simple terms, If you have an influx of people visiting your website or app to view and purchase your products, that’s human traffic. However, when automated software known as a bot visits, that’s bot traffic.

A couple of them are helpful to search engines. At the same time, some serve as a means to automate digital processes and act as digital assistants.

There are also testing bots for website performance, marketing bots for optimizing display ads, etc. Examples of legitimate bots are Googlebot, Siri, Alexa, and WordPress pingbacks.

On the other hand, some bot traffic is designed to invade your website and hack sensitive information. Those malicious bots can negatively impact your website’s google analytics data.

They are also helpful for credential stuffing, data scraping, and initiating distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Cybercriminals also capitalize on bad bots to launch account takeover (ATO) attacks on your visitors.

Also read: Top 10 Marketplace For Selling Digital Products

Bot Traffic—Threats to Your Online Business

Often, it’s typical for people with their businesses’ footprints online to ask. Should I really be worried about bot traffic on my website? Is it something I should care about? The answer is yes.

Below are reasons you need to deal a fatal blow on any notice of Bot traffic on your website or app. Perhaps, you found them.

Your Website is Prone to A Security Breach.

No one wants malicious bots on their website. Sooner or later, they’d do what they know how to do best—wreak havoc on your website. And perhaps, your website is without bot detection tools, they’d force their way into it with different usernames and passwords.

They can also install viruses on your website and spread them to your users. Worse still, these bad bots act like regular human traffic. It’s possible not to notice them, even when you check your website’s statistics. That’s when you see a high rate of clicks but no conversion.

Bot Traffic Results in Poor SEO Performance

You don’t want web scraping bots to steal and publish your content on other websites. When they do, it affects the SERP ranking of your website in the long run.

The new website hosting your content will outrank yours. You also risk penalties from Google on issues bothering duplication. Moreso, Google discourages bot traffic in its webmaster guidelines. Their reason is–-it leads to poor-quality content.

Here is the bottom line–You do not want bots to index your high-quality website or blog for a less-quality one, which can affect your overall page rank.

Unauthorized bot traffic impacts the analytics metrics such as page views, session duration, bounce rate, conversions, and geolocation of users.

Measuring a website’s performance with colossal bot traffic activities is challenging. So you see, bot traffic is dangerous for your online business.

Your Website Server is Strained and Overloaded

It’s no longer news that malicious bot traffic harms your website. As part of its activities, it strains and overloads your webserver. This is because the bots take up your server bandwidth with their requests, slowing down your website.

For instance, a bot who visits your website first initiates an HTTP request to your server for some information. Your server responds to this request by supplying the answers to the information.

So, imagine your server has to respond to the requests of multiple bot traffic, considering the number of bots on the internet. That’s huge and tends to strain or slow down your web server.

What’s Click Fraud

If you own a website that serves ads, there is a high chance a bot lands on the website and clicks on various elements of the page. This could trigger fake ad clicks known as click fraud.

Initially, this may boost the ad revenue of the website. Online advertising networks are competent at detecting bot clicks. On noticing a website is committing click fraud, they ban it from their network.

That’s why you need to watch out for click fraud as someone who owns a website that hosts ads.

How Do You Detect Bot Traffic

Use a Bot Detection Software

One of the easiest ways to detect bot traffic on your website is by using bot detection software. Advanced bot solutions are the best to use. They not only provide real-time data but also analyze all requests.

You could add good bots to your allowed list with an advanced bot detection solution. You’d also be able to block bad bots.

A large chunk of bots pretend to be Googlebot but are not. However, an advanced bot detection solution can deduce the requests by good bots and which ones are not.

Watch Out for an Outrageous Number of Page Views.

If you notice you have an unusual number of page views, it’s likely a bot attack. Here is why–when your website gets invaded by bots, they try to overwhelm your servers.

You’d notice a sudden increase in the pageview, whether it’s a DDoS attack or tons of scrapers.

Also read: Novel AI Review: Is It The Best Story Writing AI Tool? (2024 Guide)

Watch Out for High Bounce Rates and Session Duration.

Each bot you see on the internet has a purpose. Bots operate in milliseconds rather than seconds. So, you’d notice an unusually high and fast bounce rate. As regards session duration, beware of sessions in the range of milliseconds.

Those are long sessions. Usually, humans stay a few seconds on a website. However, they do not stay on one page for more than a few minutes.

Watch Out for Spikes in Traffic from Unknown Locations.

This is another way to detect bot traffic. Say you operate your business from the U.S. but noticed an influx of requests from Australia; chances are that’s a bot attack.

Typically, if you get unusual rates of recommendations from countries that don’t align with your business, they’re often bots requests.

Passive Bot Fingerprinting

Passive signals happen when you collect identifiable metadata. For instance, browsers often send certain header messaging to validate their identities. However, bots from unsophisticated sources rarely include these identifying headers.

In some instances, many basic bots use their attack tool as their real name. That way, it’s easier to detect bots through their header information.

Also read: 10 Best AI Video Generators In 2024 (Free & Paid)

Active Bot Fingerprinting

Web browsers are complex and are rarely duplicated. In the same vein, attackers cannot also build bots that will represent all the specifications of a browser and its attributes.

Your system has to send a request to all browsers. At the same time, it queries the information on the browser as an identifier. A solution such as a website device fingerprinting analyzes deep knowledge about a user so that bots can be easily identified.

The request typically requires the browser to perform a task that would identify the attributes of your fingerprints. Although this happens in the backend, it’s easy to detect whether it’s a bot.

Bot Traffic–Take Caution and Protect Your Online Business Today

When choosing a bot detection tool, ensure it detects and manages all kinds of bots, good or bad. Ensure It also works in real-time so it can take note of bot traffic and take the necessary steps in case of any occurrence. Now you have the knowledge, it’s high time you use it to protect your online business.

Alan Jackson

Alan is content editor manager of The Next Tech. He loves to share his technology knowledge with write blog and article. Besides this, He is fond of reading books, writing short stories, EDM music and football lover.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Copyright © 2018 – The Next Tech. All Rights Reserved.